Like football, but not interested in being tackled by a 300 lb lineman? Us too. Luckily, flag football comes to the rescue, a game similar to what the pros are doing— minus the huge helmets and shoulder pads (eye black is still highly encouraged). So grab some friends and take this game outside for some seasonal, sweaty fun.
Not Just for Gym Class — The Need-to-Know
So what’s the411 on flag football? The game is divided into two types: contact and non-contact. In contact, players are allowed to block and get in the ball carrier’s way, while any interference in non-contact is a big N-O. For both styles, instead of ramming, er, safely tackling players to the ground, the defense must remove a flag or flag belt from the player with the ball to end a down.
Besides that, flag football follows many of the same rules as its big brother. The offense has four tries (called downs) to advance the ball ten yards, while the defense does everything in their power to snag that flag and keep the offense away from the end zone. And nope, the football field doesn’t shrink when playing flag-style. Those 100 yards leave plenty of room to sprint, since we’ve gotta be fast to get to that end zone!
Quick dashes will also wake up those fast twitch muscles, believed to help burn energy more quickly and build muscle mass Increase in the proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibres by sprint training in males. Jansson E, Esbjornsson M, Holm I, et al. Department of Clinical Physiology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 1990 Nov;140(3).. Plus, team sports provide a fun challenge in a positive environment— talk about a touchdown.
Blue 52, Hut HIKE! —Your Action Plan
Tis the season! (No, not that one.) With the big game approaching, there’s no better time to get into the football spirit. While many enjoy sitting back and watching the big guys play, going out to burn some calories is never a bad idea, too! Ask around about pick-up games, or even organize one yourself. And if that isn’t an option, consider joining a league.
Better at cheering than two-point conversions? Get vocal from the sidelines! Just remember, if playing with contact, linemen can block around the chest, increasing the risk of injury. And there’s no padding in flag football— just jerseys, cleats, and flag belts, according to the U.S. Flag Football Association. So proceed with caution if blocking is allowed. Finally, be sure to establish the rules before the whistle blows, and go let off a little holiday steam!